Wait A Minute, These Are Not The Badgers

andy pechContributor IMarch 9, 2010

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 27:  Jon Leuer #30 of the Wisconsin Badgers puts the ball up against Kye Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 27, 2007 in Durham, North Carolina.  Duke defeated Wisconsin 82-58. (Photo by: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We have all been conditioned to think University of Wisconsin teams are slow, methodical, lunch pail bores who might win a game on the big stage but don’t have the talent to be considered a true, top five threat to win a National Championship in anything but hockey.


After all, wasn’t it Dick Bennett’s team that tricked itself all the way to the final four by playing defense, defense, and defense?


After all, isn’t it Bo Ryan’s team who plays this weird offense where the object is to actually wait for a good shot?


These Wisconsin teams don’t have talent. These Wisconsin teams are just the result of a freakish system designed by an insane chalk-boarding madman to bore the hell out of slam dunk fans everywhere.


Well, if you believe this about the 2010 Wisconsin Badgers Men’s Basketball team, you might be drinking last year’s cool aide.


The Badgers are way better and way different than what one would expect from the media observations and I am feeling the sudden urge to tell you why.


Guards, guards and more guards? Tough guards! Quick guards! Slick guards! Two senior guards! Best shooting guard in the country! Did I say the Badgers had great guards? Nothing leads me to believe anything is more important in the NCAA Tournament than guard-play.


 Jason Bohannon is as good a shooter as you will see this year and is also a hardnosed defender. Both Trevon Hughes and Jordan Taylor are great at penetration, are strong and tough, can shoot the cold-blooded three and pick your pocket at any given moment.


Count them, three top-notch guards.


Jon Leuer is not a guard. No, Jon Leuer might be the slickest 6-10 forward in college. He works so well around the basket you think he’s 6-5. He has a deadly midrange jumper. He slams the ball and block shots. Oh, and did I say he is deadly from beyond the arc?


Jon Leuer is as likely to come out of a game as the MVP as any player in the country. Yes, I said any player in the country and he is on the Badgers.


Now let’s not forget this team, in the end, is a Bo Ryan team. Defense. Discipline. Depth. All so good and all so apparently coached to perfection.  However . . .


. . . something happened when Jon Leuer went down for that stretch during the midseason. The Badger guards embraced and expanded Bo Ryan’s offense.


In the past, it sometimes looked like Bo Ryan’s players were scared to make a mistake, passing up shots they should have drilled. Not this team, not anymore. Anyone might drill a three, slam the ball, and take matters into their own hands but somehow all within the system.


This all comes together at exactly the right time of the year. Bo knows basketball.

Look for a deep run. Expect a deep run. This team can beat anybody.

You've heard it first here, folks!